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Cadillac: Hands-free driving arrives in 2 years

Posted at 3:08 PM, Sep 08, 2014

While the world waits in anticipation of Apple’s mysterious announcement Tuesday, America’s most iconic luxury auto brand dropped a bomb of its own on Sunday.

In less than three years, a driverless Cadillac will hit the streets.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced the news during her keynote speech at the Intelligent Transport System World Congress in Detroit.

“We are not doing this for the sake of the technology itself,” Barra said. “We’re doing it because it’s what customers around the world want.”

The unnamed new Cadillac model will be available for model year 2017, according to a release from GM. The vehicle’s new technology, called Super Cruise, promises to allow drivers hands-off lane following, braking and speed control in “certain highway conditions,” the release stated.

Driving with your hands off the wheel — sounds terrifying, right? Barra implied that the Super Cruise technology could be safer than traditional driving.

“Through technology and innovation, we will make driving safer,” she told the audience. GM indicated the system was created to “increase the comfort of an attentive driver on freeways, both in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips.”

The company that introduced the world to OnStar about 20 years ago will also roll out a new vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology into the 2017 Cadillac CTS. That system is meant to thin heavy traffic by allowing vehicles to send and receive basic information including location, speed and direction of travel between other cars.

The vehicle-to-vehicle system is also designed to warn drivers of a potential forward collision, using a head-up display on the windshield, according to GM’s release.

This new head-up display will warn drivers of possible collisions. (Handout/General Motors)

While the auto industry saw record-setting sales in August, GM reported a 1.2 percent decline compared to August 2013. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Cadillac brand has been in a notable sales slump recently, dropping 18 percent in July.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.